Alliance launches Detroit resource center for Black-owned businesses

Candice Williams
The Detroit News

Five months after its launch, the Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance will open its Black Business Resource Center next week in downtown Detroit.

The center at 1234 Washington Blvd. will provide free internet and co-working space for its members, officials said. Services are also accessible to nonmembers for a fee.

A grand opening event is set for 6 p.m. Monday.

“Black businesses face many historic barriers,” Charity Dean, president and CEO of the alliance, said in a statement Friday. “The goal of the MDBBA is to eliminate barriers to success in every way possible. By providing this center to members, we are helping to close the digital gap that exists while creating a space for unapologetically Black innovation and creativity in entrepreneurship.”

Charity Dean, CEO of the Metro-Detroit Black Business Alliance, says the organization's new co-working center is meant to help Black-owned business operators overcome historic barriers.

The center will also have workshops, seminars and other resources for Black-owned businesses, officials said.

During September, Black-owned businesses can use the center for free for co-working, internet access and printing. The alliance also offers memberships for non-Black business owners and non-business owners.

The alliance launched in March with $1 million from founding partner TCF Bank, now Huntington Bank, and has more than 200 members. It's headed by Dean, who left her post earlier this year as the director of the city of Detroit's Office of Civil Rights, Inclusion and Opportunity. 

Kevin Johnson, president and CEO of the Detroit Economic Growth Corporation, congratulated the organization on its new center.

“This space will provide Black businesses with access to resources, meeting space and opportunities to network,” he said. “We are aligned with MDBBA in prioritizing programs that enable Black entrepreneurial success and small business growth.”

Sponsors of the center include Comcast Business, Chase Bank and Molson Coors.

Among the organization’s accomplishments since its launch is assisting Black-owned businesses in accessing $2 million in funds through the federal Personal Protection Program and the Restaurant Revitalization Fund. This summer, the alliance launched  the Hastings Street Index, a Black business directory for Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties.

Twitter: @CWilliams_DN